GUIDE TO HEALTHY EATING

Health eating guide
It is important to enjoy the food you eat. And eating in a healthier way may even be cheaper! Some traditional beliefs of what makes up a healthy diet may be really good, such as eating home-preserved vegetables, but other traditional beliefs are disease-promoting, e.g. eating large quantities of fatty meat daily. Recent evidence has shown that eating too much meat with animal fat is risky to our health. Only very small amounts of lean meat are needed – and not every day. In fact, the less meat and animal fat we eat the better!

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU ARE EATING A HEALTHY DIET?

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU ARE EATING A HEALTHY DIET?

  • RISKS FROM BEING OVERWEIGHT:
  • RISKS TO YOU: Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, non-insulin dependent diabetes, constipation, joint pain, being out of breath. Your risks multiply if you eat too much animal fat, smoke, drink alcohol and take very little exercise.
  • RISKS TO YOUR FAMILY: Coronary heart disease, development of bad eating habits, poor life expectancy but having a Healthy Lifestyle isn’t only about being the right weight for your height.
  • Being healthy is also about WHAT you eat – choosing the right food.

The most up-to-date research suggests that you can build a healthy and balanced diet by choosing your food as if you are building a Food Pyramid.

Healthy and balanced diet suggestions

POTATOES, BREAD, RICE, AND CEREALS

These starchy foods are not fattening unless you cook or serve them with fat. In fact, these foods give you energy for all the activities of your daily life. In addition, they are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals as well as starch. They should definitely form the MAIN part of most meals, and preferably, every meal. If possible eat whole grain varieties of cereals since these are high in fiber. The additional benefit is that fiber can help to prevent constipation and other bowel disorders. REMEMBER potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (especially if you do not peel them) and can, therefore, help to prevent anemia if eaten together with iron-containing foods. So eat MORE Potatoes, Bread, Cereal, Rice EVERY DAY. See: Why whole grain foods are recommended.

VEGETABLES AND FRUIT

Vegetables are the main source of minerals and vitamins in our diet. Many of us do not eat enough of either. Some vegetables traditionally grown in your areas may be available all the year round. Try to eat what is in season and add beans and lentils which are excellent sources of minerals. Eat MORE IRON-containing food such as green vegetables. Locally produced vegetables are usually the cheapest and the most full of flavor and nutrients because they are fresh. Even better is growing your own vegetables and using them directly from the garden. Fruit is also a good source of minerals and vitamins. Try to eat seasonal fruit and preserve as many of the wild or garden fruits as you can by freezing, canning or drying them. EAT MORE THAN 5 PORTIONS OF VEGETABLES AND FRUIT EVERY DAY (more than 400g daily). See; Why you should eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables.

MEAT, FISH, AND PULSES

Eating too much animal fat is the main cause of ill health. Our bodies need very little but most of us eat too much. You may have heard of  SATURATED FATS. These are found mainly in the meat of cows, pigs, and sheep and in products which include their meat and fat, such as sausages, meat pies, and beef burgers. Eating too much saturated fat can lead to coronary heart disease and be overweight. UNSATURATED FATS, however, are found in oily fish, chicken, eggs, turkey, duck, beans and lentils and foods made from these. Unsaturated fat may be better for you, but eating TOO MUCH FAT of any type can increase your weight. It is better to buy a small amount of lean meat rather than fatty meat or solid fat. It is even better to EAT MORE FISH of all kinds. And don’t forget to increase your IRON intake by eating liver. Traditional meals using peas, beans, and lentils provide good nourishment. Remember to cut down on any animal fat used in cooking, e.g. in soups do not add fat and do not fry food for. Where FAT is involved, LESS IS BEST.

MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCE

Milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, but they are also HIGH IN ANIMAL FAT. To achieve a Healthy Lifestyle it is important to eat SOME milk and dairy produce. If semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is available this is BETTER for adults as it contains less fat. And, of course, the BEST MILK for babies and young toddlers is BREAST MILK which contains everything they need for up to six months of age for their healthy start in life and can be continued for up to two years. See Milk and its health benefits. and Cream and health.

FATS, OILS, AND SUGAR

The tip of the Pyramid is the smallest part. This reflects how little you should eat from this food group. LESS IS BETTER. If you use any fat or oil in cooking use less. Steaming, boiling and grilling without extra fat or oil helps to cut down your total intake of fat. Reduce the amount of fat in all your recipes. Eat bread without spreading butter on it. Try to cut down on sugar as it causes dental decay, may increase your weight and doesn’t give you any micro-nutrients. See: Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat.

ACTION PLAN TO HEALTHY EATING

  • Use the Pyramid to MONITOR what you eat.
  • Do your traditional recipes give you a healthy diet? If they contain Potatoes, Bread, Rice, Pasta, Vegetables, and Fruit, continue to enjoy them.
  • Try not to be tempted to switch to imported processed “western” foods. These may be TOO RICH IN FAT and sugar will increase many of your health risks.
  • If you have the OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE what you eat, make sure most of your food comes from the Potatoes, Rice, Cereal, Pasta, Vegetables, and Fruit.
  • If you have very LITTLE CHOICE over what you buy vary the method of cooking to avoid eating too much fat (boil, steam or grill foods rather than frying them) and try to introduce fresh locally-produced vegetables and fruit whenever you can.
  • Take LOCAL ADVICE on minimizing the damage from vegetables contaminated with chemicals and pesticides.
  • Grow and eat MORE vegetables of all kinds and harvest them when you need them.
  • If you eat a lot of foods rich in animal fats and oil try to reduce the quantity and do not add extra fat or oil when cooking vegetables.
  • AVOID ADDING SALT to your meals at the table – however, when you do use salt in cooking ensure that you buy IODIZED SALT which prevents iodine deficiency.
  • If you are a WOMAN of childbearing age it is vital to try and prevent anemia which increases the risk of complications during and after childbirth. Do this by eating foods rich in iron (meat, fish, and liver) along with foods rich in vitamin C (fresh vegetables) and avoid iron inhibitors (e.g. tea).
  • Try to drink tea about two hours after finishing a meal since tea contains phenols which could inhibit the absorption of the IRON present in your meal.
  • INFANTS: The best food is breast milk which contains everything they need to give them a healthy start in life. Young infants should have nothing (no water, dried milk, sugared water, tea, etc.) except breastmilk for the FIRST 6 MONTHS and breastfeeding can continue until 2 years of age.

ABOVE ALL, EAT MORE LOCALLY PRODUCED VEGETABLES AND LESS ANIMAL FAT


What you will achieve:
  • You will be LESS at risk from major illnesses. 
  • You will give your children a BETTER START IN LIFE. 
  • You will all FEEL AND LOOK MORE HEALTHY.

Here’s what some people said when they ate a MORE BALANCED DIET
“I’ve got interested in cooking food again”
“I’m amazed! It seems to be cheaper to eat a healthy diet”
“My bowel problems seem to have ceased”
“The children look better and don’t get ill as often”
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